Kashmiri activist barred from travelling to attend UN Human rights session

By Raqib Hameed Naik, TwoCircles.net

Srinagar: In a significant move aimed at stopping voices from the Valley from reaching an international stage, Khurram Parvez, a prominent human rights activist was detained at Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi and prevented from boarding the plane to Geneva, Switzerland where he was supposed to attend the ongoing UN Human Rights Council session.

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Despite having invitation, valid visa and other necessary documents, Parvez, who is the chairperson of Asian Federation Against involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and Program Coordinator of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) was initially detained for one and a half hours. Subsequently, he was told that due to orders from the Intelligence Bureau, he cannot travel to Geneva.

image courtesy- Khurram Parvez's Facebook account.jpg
Image Courtesy- Khurram Parvez’s Facebook account

“Despite repeatedly asking for written orders that he was forbidden to leave the country, he was denied the same. And despite repeatedly asking for reasons, grounds or the basis for the decision to disallow his travel, he was not provided the same. He was only orally informed that immigration officers had instructions that he was not to be ‘arrested’, but that he should not be allowed to leave the country,” said JKCCS president Parvez Imroz in a statement.

“It appears that Parvez is not being allowed to travel because he has been – in his capacity as the Chairperson of Asian Federation Against involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and Program Coordinator of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) – highlighting violations of human rights. Preventing him from travelling is an attempt to criminalise the human rights campaign and documentation work which JKCCS has been involved in for the last several years,” the spokesperson added.

Parvez along with Mary Aileen Diez Bacalso, Adv. Parvez Imroz, Adv. Kartik Murukutla and Ron de Vera were part of the AFAD & JKCCS delegation which was scheduled to visit Geneva from 14th to 24th September to attend the 33rd UN Human Rights Council session.

The Kashmiri members of the delegation, besides attending the UNHRC session, were also scheduled to brief UN bodies including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly over the last two months.

JKCCS said it considers travel ban as a part of the widespread and systematic violence that the people of Jammu and Kashmir continue to face.

It further added that the Indian state seeks to isolate the people of Jammu and Kashmir at all costs, and disallowing human rights activists access to the UN is a part of this attempt to isolate and ensure impunity for violence and denial of human rights.

“India has staked a claim to a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, and is presently a member of the UN Human Rights Council. Yet, in absolute disregard to its own laws, it denies Kashmiris basic fundamental rights. The international community, particularly the UN, must condemn the attempts of the Indian State to deny the people of Jammu and Kashmir their right to resist, including through human rights work, and urgently intervene through a UN fact-finding mission in Jammu and Kashmir,” the organisation added.

Meanwhile, ruling PDP’s Central Kashmir MP Tariq Hameed Karra on Thursday resigned from the party both as basic member and the party lawmaker in protest against the continuing killings in Kashmir.